How To Stay Looking Current
We’re well versed in the power of a radical new hair cut to lop ten years off your age but can you do this with your clothes? How do you stay looking current and dressing appropriately when most magazines or ad campaigns are filled with pictures of models in their twenties? A funny thing happens as we get older: we cling to those years when we felt we looked our best, not always taking into account how our bodies, faces or fashion might have changed.
Many women believe the answer lies in looking dressier, when really they should probably be thinking of scaling it back and making bold, simple statements. In short, avoiding anything that makes you resemble the mother of the bride.
Thankfully women such as Ines de la Fressange or Joan Didon in Celine’s ad campaign prove that looking stylish needn’t rely on the first flush of youth or endlessly long, lithe legs.
If there’s one overriding observation I’ve noticed from sifting through a million street style photos from the catwalk shows, it’s that the most stylish –and current looking – dressers are those who look the most comfortable in what they are wearing. By which I don’t mean they’ve left the house in a slobby pair of tracksuit bottoms, but that they exude that French maxim of being “bien dans sa peau”.
If you take the time to observe the following six points, you are already half way there.
1) Occasionwear is dead.
Er, who exactly said that as you approach your fifties you should be decked out in saccharine pastels, boxy jackets and shapeless shift dresses. It’s time to start simplifying things rather than adding the exuberance of Donatella Versace’s jewellery box to your wardrobe.
Look for sharper feminine pieces (now might be time for a good wardrobe over-haul?) and never match your bag to your shoes. Deep down, you know what suits you and if you don’t, make the time to find out, be that through a trusted friend, personal shopper or a long session in front of the mirror. Don’t kid yourself.
2) Never stop experimenting
On the one hand, chasing every trend isn’t advisable but nor do you want to stay stuck in your style rut.
What you want to be doing is looking for a select few timeless classics, which is possibly the best way to build up a wardrobe that will mark you out as confident and stylish.
Don’t ever stop experimenting. You develop something of a uniform as you get older but you need to be updating the staples and always edit your wardrobe to keep it looking fresh. It’s worth remembering that black might be a fashion ed’s go-to colour, but it can look really severe, especially right next to your face. If you’re still unsure about ditching the neutral colour spectrum, try grey or navy blue which are far more forgiving.
3) Comfy shoes are a good thing
I’m not sure there is much more to be said about this other than asking yourself whether hobbling/mincing along is how you want to live your life? Never has there been a better time than 2015 to embrace very fashion forward flats.
4) Don’t buy cheap clothes
By which I ‘m not imploring you to bankrupt yourself by heading to Gucci or Saint Laurent, but asking yourself just how much fast fashion you really need in your life. Buy less, buy better goes that well repeated mantra and you know it makes complete sense. Again, it marks the wearer as someone who is confident and wears their clothes rather than the other way round. Not caring what men think is another thing that comes with age.
5) Don’t underestimate the power of tailoring
Spend money on a decent, tailored jacket — the structure of which conceals any dreaded middle-aged spread.
If you’re curvy or have a well-endowed chest, try semi-fitted styles; if you’re petite, a cropped, collarless number helps elongate your frame. The most delectable one I’ve found recently is by Adeam, a New York brand but at the more affordable end of the spectrum try jackets by Whistles, Zara and Vanessa Bruno.
On the subject of structure, make the time to think about your underpinnings. I did this in August and it was a game changer. How did I not know that bras lose their shape after 6 -9 months of everyday wear and that we should get measured a couple of times a year? Bra guru, Julia Mercer at Marks & Spencers explains that breast tissue changes as you get older. She thinks it’s important that more women are aware of how menopause affects our breasts because many women go up one and a half dress sizes and their breasts ache because of changes to their glandular tissue.
6) Where to shop
So where do we find these clothes: items that skim, flatter and drape. That look grown up and contemporary, yet which are still possessed of some youthful vim. The best grown up brands on the high street and where you will find great fabrics, flattering hem lengths and good tailoring are Cos, LK Bennett, Uterque, Toast, Whistles, Hobbs and Zara. But there’s also a rash of lesser known labels that you need to know about.
The British label, Atea Oceanie is one such brand making waves currently, which offers relaxed modern weekend wear that looks and feels luxurious, can be dressed up or down, yet is still affordable. Another favourite is Ganni, the Danish brand that creates, sleek, stylish silhouettes and useful, mix’n’match separates.
If you’re wondering how to wear leather as you approach middle age, Stills Atelier, the Dutch brand offers loose tailoring rather than hoiked in body-con shapes that look fabulous teamed with chunky or very fine knitwear.
For smarter occasions or an up to date take on work wear, another brand which keeps popping up is The Fold. Again, their tailoring skims rather than hugs every curve. The Eaton or Northcote dress styles in blue tweed are as snappy, uber luxurious looking as they are flattering.
You not going to get a glamorous “mother-of-the-bride” look than this one.